Inspirational Thoughts on Nature, Art & Beauty | Podcasts

Podcast Transcript: Welcome to the Inspirational Living podcast. I’d like to start today’s podcast by wishing our listeners in the United States a Happy Thanksgiving holiday. May we all take this time to reflect upon the many blessings in our lives and to rededicate ourselves to cultivating a daily attitude of gratitude and optimism.

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I also want to extend a special thanks to Stuart Campbell and Krystal Baker, who have become new patrons of our podcast. It’s my personal goal in the coming year to dedicate myself full time to the Inspirational Living podcast, eventually expanding our schedule to daily episodes. But to do that, I will need your help. If you would like to support us and become a patron, you can do so for as little as $1 a month. Simply visit our podcast website at Podcast.LivingHour.org, and click on the Patron banner that you see on the right.

Now, let’s get started with today’s reading, which is dedicated to the memory of the artist Wayne Trapp, a dear friend who recently passed away at his home in North Carolina. This reading has been edited and adapted from the book Practical Ethics, by William De Witt Hyde, published in 1892.

The love of nature, like all love, cannot be forced. It is not directly under the control of our will. We cannot set about it in deliberate fashion, like we set about earning a living. Still it can be cultivated. We can place ourselves in contact with Nature’s more impressive aspects. We can go away by ourselves; stroll through the woods; watch the clouds; bask in the sunshine; brave the storm; listen to the notes of birds; find out the haunts of living creatures; learn the times and places in which to find the flowers, gaze upon the glowing sunset, and look up into the starry skies.

If we thus keep close to Nature, she will draw us to herself, and whisper to us more and more of her hidden meaning. The eye — it cannot choose but see; we cannot bid the year be still: our bodies feel, wherever they be: against or with our will. Nor less I deem that there are powers which of themselves our minds impress; that we can feed these minds of ours in a wise receptiveness.

The more we feel of the beauty and significance of Nature, the more we become capable of feeling. And this capacity to feel the influences which Nature is constantly throwing around us is an indispensable element in noble and elevated character.

Our thoughts, our acts (yes, our very forms and features), reflect the objects which we habitually welcome to our minds and hearts. And if we are to have these expressions of ourselves noble and pure, we must drink constantly and deeply at Nature’s fountains of beauty and truth.

Through communion with the grandeur and majesty of Nature, our lives are lifted to loftier and purer heights than our unaided wills could ever gain. We grow into the likeness of that we love. We are transformed into the image of that which we contemplate and adore. We are thus made strong to resist the base temptations; patient to endure the petty vexations; brave to oppose the brutal injustices, of daily life.

This whole subject of the power of Nature to uplift and bless has been so exhaustively and beautifully expressed by Wordsworth that I should be obliged to quote him directly. In his beautiful lyrical ballad LINES WRITTEN A FEW MILES ABOVE TINTERN ABBEY Wordsworth writes:

Nature never did betray
The heart that loved her; ’tis her privilege,
Through all the years of this our life, to lead
From joy to joy: for she can so inform
The mind that is within us, so impress
With quietness and beauty, and so feed
With lofty thoughts, that neither evil tongues,
Rash judgments, nor the sneers of selfish men,
Nor greetings where no kindness is, nor all
The dreary intercourse of daily life,
Shall ever prevail against us, or disturb
Our cheerful faith, that all which we behold
Is full of blessings.
Therefore I am still
A lover of the meadows and the woods
And mountains; and of all that we behold
From this green earth; well pleased to recognize
In Nature and the language of the sense
The anchor of my purest thoughts, the nurse,
The guide, the guardian of my heart, and the soul
Of all my moral being.

And yet, despite the beauty and truth of Wordsworth’s poetry, Nature is incomplete.

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